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History of Flight Suits

Posted by: James Stevens
Traditionally, Coast Guard Auxiliary (AUXAIR) flight suits are the same issued to Active-Duty Coast Guard aviators. During the 1960s and 70s, Auxiliary aviators utilized issued military green flight suits made of fire retardant material. Around 1987, the Coast Guard switched over to what was referred to as “NASA” flight suits. They were the same as the green green flight suits, except they had shoulder epaulettes and were blue.

Approximately 2005 the Auxiliary switched to the sage green flight suits made of Nomex material, which is currently in use. 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of Coast Guard aviation and the 71st Anniversary of the Auxiliary’s aviation program.

Researched by COMO Joseph Giannattasio.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Flight Suits from 1960s to present 

The Coast Guard CS/FRP-1 flight coverall, constructed from permanently fire-resistant polyamide (Nomex), was also provided to Coast Guard Auxiliary air crews in the 1960s. Featuring a front zip closure, a rounded collar, angled zippered breast pockets, a shoulder pocket, zippered shin pockets, two hip pass-through pockets with zip fasteners, VELCRO® wrist and ankle fasteners, and an adjustable waist belt with VELCRO® fasteners, these flight suits offered comprehensive functionality. This particular flight suit is the property of Auxiliarist Ron Kripas, a former Active Duty Coast Guard member from 1969 to 1972. Issued to him during his service, the flight suit continues to serve Ron in his role as a qualified Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Crew member.


Images courtesy of COMO Joseph Giannattasio


Blue “NASA” Flight Suit 1987 

Coast Guard aircrew members were issued the standard Royal Blue Nomex flight suit, affectionately dubbed the “NASA" flight suit due to its resemblance to the attire worn by the NASA Astronaut Corps. Crafted from 100% Fire Resistant Aramid (Nomex) cloth, the suit maintains its fire resistance even after washing. Notable features include angled zippered breast pockets, shin pockets with zippers for storing miscellaneous gear and checklist binders, and VELCRO® waist bands for adjustable sizing. This particular flight suit received authorization for use by the USCG Auxiliary from 1987 until it was replaced by the Sage Green Flight suit in 2005.

Images courtesy of COMO Joseph Giannattasio


Sage Green Flight suit 2005

The Nomex flight suit utilized by the Coast Guard adheres to military specifications worn by all U.S. flight crews. Comprising 92% Meta Aramid, 5% Para Aramid, and 3% conductive fiber fabrics, this garment boasts flame-resistant properties. Notable features include a two-way zipper with pull, six primary pockets, an adjustable waist belt with VELCRO® brand fasteners, a knife pocket on the left inseam, a pencil pocket on the left sleeve, and a gusseted back for enhanced flexibility. Authorized for use by the USCG Auxiliary Air Program since 2005, this flight suit meets stringent standards.

Images courtesy of COMO Joseph Giannattasio